Last night, I had the pleasure and honor to watch a REAL college basketball national championship between Texas A&M and Notre Dame. A game where the women showed the men how to scrap it out, tough it out, and gut it out to determine a national champion. Its not that I don't think the men tried hard on Monday, but for whatever reason, the effort was more apparent in Indianapolis versus Houston. All hail Gary Blair (and then he hit his dougie) and the Aggies for bringing home their first national championship to College Station.
However, the majority of folks who watched the game only had one thing in mind...
"Man, do you see that #4 girl for Notre Dame? She's bad, homie."
"Dog, those two Sydney girls for Texas A&M...I'd let them post me up anytime."
"Dude, Skylar Diggins is so fine, I'd wife her up and take her last name."
Is our integrity as sports fans on the line if we stop and stare at the beautiful women that play the game of basketball? Should we be able to keep it together as the national championship is decided before our very eyes? Are we just heathens? Probably, but this is nothing new in the world of sport.
I remember when Candace Parker hit the scene back in 2006. She had everything you needed to be a phenom in college basketball. She was 6'4", 175 pounds, long arms, deft shooting touch, she could dunk, and an insane basketball IQ. She could literally do anything on the basketball court. She was beloved in Knoxville, because she was tabbed to be the next in line to carry the legacy of Chamique, Tamika, Semeka, Kara, the GREAT Nikki McCray (Caldwell) and every other great Lady Vol that walked into Thompson-Boling Arena. All hail Candace Parker.
Of course, there were another legion of fans that beloved Candace Nicole Parker for a myriad of different reasons. Who in the hell is this 6'4", long-legged, light-skinneded, long hair, fine-ass woman who's dunking on people and winning slam-dunk contests? What is more fine than that? Seriously, there might be nothing more sexy than that. She could dunk on me and everything, and I'd be perfectly fine with it. I know grown men who were programming their DVR's, making 4-6 hour road trips, taking vacation days, and professing the fineness of Candace Parker. Which begs two obvious questions...
"How in the hell did Shelden Williams pull Candace Parker?"
"Homeboy, do you really care how good of a hooper she is?"
To answer the first question is...well, there isn't any answer. It is an unsolved mystery that can never be solved.
The answer to the second question is yes; we, as male basketball fans, do care. There are plenty of fine women who are horrible hoopers, and we (men) would never give a damn about. So there is an obvious level of respect that is there from the male fan base that recognizes that the woman is talented in what she does on the hardwood. Put it another way; if you're fine on the bench of college basketball team, you're just a regular chick that could be hollered at by anyone. Not to say that you couldn't holler at a fine superstar, but your pimpin' might not be as strong as mine (yeah, right. Me? Having game? Never). Moving forward...
The conundrum that is in front of us is a complex one, because for all of the praise we gave Skylar Diggins, Sydney Colson, Sydney Carter, Notre Dame's assistant coach Niele Ivey (good grief), and any other fine woman we see hoop...the grief that the women gave the fellas via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, text message, phone call, carrier pigeon, smoke signal, telegraph, and Morse code was perplexing.
"So you fellas just going to go on and on about Skylar being cute? Unfollowing."
"So are you fellas going to be mad when we proclaim how fine the basketball players are in May and June?"
"Man, Skylar Diggins ain't even that cute." (hate hate hate hate hate)
To the women who inspired this post, you are absolutely right. If the fellas are going to continue to proclaim the fineness of these female hoopers, then who are we to prevent you from talking about the how aesthetically pleasing the male basketball constituency are to you all. Men will cast aspersions against our female sports fans who consistently praise male athletes for their looks and will deride them for it to the point that men will not want to watch sports with them. Its not fair, but its how we're wired. We don't want to hear it. Well, we officially annoyed the "wimminz" last night, and I honestly can't blame 'em.
Its a sports fan integrity issue.
For women's college basketball, its a double-edged sword. On one hand, due to the fineness of Skylar Diggins and the Sydneys, it drew TONS of eyeballs to watch last night's game. Exposure and attention is always a good thing to a sport in which deserves more of it. However, is the game compromised, because most of the male patrons were sizing these chicks up? Does it really matter?
At the end of the day, I guarantee that the folks who were only interested in watching a game because of the fine wimminz playing came away appreciating the women's game a ton more. Its the same reason we watch women's tennis (Serena), or Indy Car racing (Danica), or boxing (Laila). Its the same reason folks stop watching Anna Kournikova. Die-hard fans will just have to put up with it, just like hardcore soccer/hockey/UFC/boxing fans put up with the casual fan who dips their toes in the pool with feigned interest. If your sport isn't the NFL/NBA/MLB/college football, then almost any attention is good attention.
Fellas, just try not to stare so much and keep your tongues in your mouth, and we'll all be better off.
Now can someone give that #51 from A&M my number? Thanks.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!